Kaitlynn Pelger had 11 kills as K-State avoided giving up a 2-0 lead in sets to defeat Cal State-Fullerton 25-20, 27-25, 21-25, 23-25, 15-12 at the UNLV Invitational in Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats cruised through the first set, holding the Titans at arm’s length, but Fullerton rallied late in the second set from a five-point deficit to take a 25-24 lead. A Titan ball handling error tied the score, and back-to-back blocks by Natali Jones and Lilla Porubek gave K-State the win. The Cats led 21-20 in the third, and then it was Fullerton’s turn to steal a set by scoring the final five points. The Titans controlled the next set before K-State came from five behind to take a 23-22 lead, followed by a Fullerton three-point flurry to finish. The fifth set was more of the same as the teams exchanged runs, but K-State had the last laugh by breaking a 12-all tie to win out.
The Cats also got 10 kills from Porubek and Taylor Johhnson, who each reached double digits for the second straight match. Katie Brand her first career double-double with 42 assists and 15 digs. Tristan McCarty topped K-State (2-0) with 27 digs, while freshman Kersten Kober added 18. Johnson led the effort at the net with seven blocks. Fullerton (0-2) was led by 18 kills from Alyse Hensley.
K-State will go for the tournament title against UNLV on Saturday night at 9:00pm central time. Pregame at Cox Pavilion begins at 8:30 on NewsRadio 1350 KMAN with Rob Voelker.
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